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Emily & Tom - Forde Abbey, Chard

One of the real highlights of my job is the many interesting locations I get to visit and shoot. Emily & Tom’s wedding certainly falls into that category. Emily is also one of the most organised brides I’ve ever met. I first met her and Tom way back in September 2011! They were at Exeter University a few years behind myself and I was recommended to them by our mutual friend, Katie Stotter - cheers Katie!

When I’m shooting locations far from home, I tend to make sure I’m in the area the night before at the latest, to minimise the chance that bad traffic or roadworks can play a nefarious part in my role on the day. Emily & Tom were married at the lovely St Michael & All Angels Church in Rampisham, Dorset before heading over to Forde Abbey on the border of Somerset for their reception. Emily kindly insisted that I stay with the Groom’s party and found us a truly brilliant B&B - the wonderfully named Higher Kingcombe Lodge. I don’t generally stay with the wedding party in situations like this as the last thing I want to do is step on toes or have people worrying about hosting me, but the guys were fantastic and it was great to get to know everyone a bit better. I was even invited along to the spectacular post-rehearsal lunch at Tom’s parents house. I was astonishingly well looked after, my thanks go to Emily & Tom, their families and the Groomsmen for making me so welcome.

Rampisham church has to be one of my favourite’s this year. It’s a simply stunning setting nestled in one of the truly rural parts of the country. Perfect. The boys had opted for top hats and tails - a traditional look that you don’t see often enough these days - and Tom looked the archetypal English gent. In fact, this was in general, an archetypally English wedding. I’ve photographed a couple of very English weddings this year and although that’s not been the overriding intention, there’s something rather excellent about watching tradition pass off so stylishly and comfortably in a modern world.

Rev Linda Wilcock was fantastic at Rampisham Church and my thanks go to her for trusting me to do my job in a relaxed and discrete manner. Following the ceremony we headed to Forde Abbey to get the party started. The weather the previous day had been inclement to say the least - driving around Dorsets’ lanes in heavy rain and thick fog felt a bit like the start of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (less the singing) - but on the wedding day itself we were rather lucky. Drinks and photographs outside, some lovely light at times and an interesting sky!

Forde Abbey is a extremely handsomely situated. Unlike certain places, they don’t host hundreds of weddings a year and yet there are great big indoor spaces for receptions and amazing gardens that’ll rival just about anywhere. It also has a marked feeling of seclusion that’s rather rare; it didn’t feel as if the outside world was pressing in on the intimacy. From a photographer’s point of view, the beautiful cloister has a special place in my heart. The colour of the stone is something else and the combination of light, colour and foliage made for a unique portrait location. In the evening the guests had a couple of hours of casino time after the wedding breakfast, prior to Emily & Tom treating us to some silky moves on the dance floor! Later they departed through a tunnel of family and friends before being waved off into the night.

This has turned into a bit of a long post I’m afraid, but there’s simply a lot of people to thank. Particular mention must go to Charlotte Byrne for co-ordinating the day and to chef Nick Holt of Dorset Fine Dining. Tom’s father runs Capreolus Fine Foods and sourced much of the food so the grub was, unsurprisingly, superb.

Last but not least, Emily & Tom. You guys were MEGA. Below are a selection of my favourites from the day.


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Preview: Emily & Tom - Forde Abbey

This weekend I was in Dorset & Somerset to photograph Emily & Tom’s wedding in Rampisham and their reception at the amazing Forde Abbey. More to come, but here’s a quick preview to whet the whistle.

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